A year ago, Nolan Ragon’s Boy Scout troop conducted a donation drive for homeless residents of the Brisben Center. Afterward, they toured the facility and what Ragon saw affected him.
“I saw these crowded living spaces and I just felt like I wanted to help the people there,” the now-15-year-old said.
So when it came time this past summer to think about what he wanted to do for his Eagle Scout project, Ragon knew he wanted whatever he did to benefit the Brisben Center.
“I asked Mr. [Joe] Hargrove [the center’s volunteer coordinator] what he might need and he came back with the bike shed,” Ragon said.
The shelter keeps many adult bicycles on hand so residents, most of whom don’t have transportation, can get to work and necessary appointments. It also makes children’s bicycles available for the estimated 90 boys and girls who come through the shelter every year.
Until recently, the bicycles were stored outside in every kind of weather, which made it difficult to keep them properly maintained.
Ragon and his dad, Mike, drew up plans for a 20- by 12-foot bike shelter with a shingled roof and the capacity to store 25 bikes.
Ragon and his troop raised funds for the project by hosting three yard sales of items donated by 30 families. They also sold donated items on eBay.
All together, they raised $4,250.
Mike Ragon said that thanks to the Lowe’s store in Stafford Marketplace off State Route 610, which sold them all the supplies for the project at cost, they spent only $3,300 of what was raised.
The remainder was donated to the shelter.
Ragon and his dad, along with a team of 31 people who also donated time, built the shed over the course of one month, finishing on Nov. 30.
It took a total of 495 man-hours to complete; 153 of those were Ragon’s.
“And my dad would have had the same, because he was with me every step of the way,” Nolan Ragon said.
From planning to completion, the project took five months.
Mike Ragon said his son practiced construction on a small shed in their back yard, but had never built anything of this size before.
Still, the sophomore at North Stafford High School said he isn’t worried about his construction collapsing.
“If a tornado comes through, it will still be up,” he said, as his dad jokingly knocked on wood.
Hargrove said the shed is “very, very solid and will last many years, and the bicycles will last longer, too. Nolan has done an incredible job.”
Nolan Ragon, who will turn 16 in April, said he’s been involved in Boy Scouts of America since the Cub Scouts level. He said it’s taught him practical skills and showed him “how to be a better person.”